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FIFA: Players key to 2022 World Cup decision

Updated: Sunday, 25 Aug 2013 11:49 | Comments

FIFA's decision to give the 2022 World Cup to Qatar looks to be more and more of a mistake
FIFA's decision to give the 2022 World Cup to Qatar looks to be more and more of a mistake

FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb insists the welfare of players must be central to any decision on the Qatar World Cup in 2022.

There have been calls to move the tournament either to a cooler country or to the winter due to the oppressive summer heat in the gulf state.

And Webb, the president of the North and Central American confederation CONCACAF, told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme: "The real concern from my perspective will definitely be the conditions for the players.

"The World Cup is about the players and for me it's about showing them the necessary respect. If we have to move it to the winter or if it's able to stay in the summer, let's do what's best for football.

"We're going to be examining various analysis and reports and FIFA president Sepp Blatter has indicated that he will be bringing it as a discussion point for the FIFA (executive committee) in October so we're waiting to see the relevant reports.

"Our biggest concern is going to be the players and of course the fans."

Webb, the Cayman Islands FA president, is the chairman of FIFA's anti-discrimination task force and was central to the introduction of sterner punishments for racism ahead of the new season.

He admits there is more work to do but is optimistic that the game is tackling the issue.

"The adoption of new sanctions in regard to racism and discrimination was a tremendous success but that is only the first step," he said.

"I'm not a big fan of the fines, in this day and age monetary instruments do not seem to be a deterrent.

"When it comes to points deductions, relegating a team... I think in the past, FIFA has been talking about racism and discrimination. I think now FIFA's actually doing something about it.

"The real challenge lies ahead, in education, in allowing our member associations around the world to adopt and develop their own racism policies and education programmes.

"The education process we want to establish must start within our clubs. It's not only our fans that we have issues with, we have issues within some of our bigger clubs."

Webb's previous role was with FIFA's transparency and compliance committee, established to tackle the problems of corruption within the game.

The issue came to a head under his predecessor Jack Warner's controversial stewardship of CONCACAF and Webb admitted: "It's been challenging for us in the confederation."

He added: "(Corruption) is human and we're dealing with human beings.

"We hope of course it is in the past. Unfortunately world football, including confederations, have had an unfortunate sporting culture within this organisation.

"I believe now that the public at large, football at large, the community and the media are demanding, quite rightly, that we establish zero tolerance."

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